Consider a parasite that enjoys playing with its hosts’ thoughts. The insect-pathogenic fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis infect its victims with a lethal toxin that gradually causes them to behave like zombies. This fungus is commonly found in tropical parts of the world, such as the Brazilian rainforests.
Consider a parasite that likes messing with the minds of its victims. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, an insect-pathogenic fungus, infect its prey with a fatal poison that leads them to behave like zombies over time. This fungus may be found in tropical regions across the world, such as the Brazilian rainforests.
Once the fungus has been chosen, the ant is guided to crawl to a location that is favourable to the development of the fungus. This effectively takes over the body of the creature. “The ant is forced to fall to a vantage point about 10 inches above the ground, sink its teeth into a leaf vein on the north of a plant, and wait to die,” according to National Geographic. The fungus thrives by eating the insides of its victims. The fungus then begins to fruit, allowing it to infiltrate through the ant’s body and spread to its next target.
Where does the zombie aspect come into play?
“And because the ant generally climbs a leaf that overhangs its colony’s foraging routes, the fungal spores shower down onto its sisters below, making them zombies in turn,” according to the Atlantic. As a result, it’s actually just a small-scale catastrophe.
This enables the fungus to keep reproducing by helping itself to tarantulas, for example. It’s impossible to tell if the corpse is totally horrible or wonderfully heartbreaking as it sits there, rotting.
So, how come we’re safe?
Because humans have a higher body mass than insects, this fungus wouldn’t make it very far. Because we are larger than ants, fighting diseases is a lot easier job for us. Not to mention the fact that this parasite was identified in 1859, and let’s hope by now we’d have figured out if a fungus-zombie apocalypse was on its way.
Furthermore, because bones have a solid texture, they would interfere with the fungus’s evil plan to kill us all off. This natural curse would have to reach the human neurological system, where it would seek to micromanage our every being, in order to have the full impact. And it’s possible that this isn’t so much gore as it is one of nature’s bizarre methods of going full circle.
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